Ryan is a coin collector from the Midwest who doesn’t play around with counterfeit opportunities. He rigorously follows and studies the market trends of precious metals and rare coins to sell and trade within the coin collecting community. Copper, silver, gold and zinc – Ryan owns coins that date back to Medieval times, tell the history of the American revolution and many that could easily be mistaken for an everyday penny. If you have a dirty old bowl of change at your house… Ryan would be happy to sift through it.
BOJ: How did you become interested in rare coin and precious metal collecting?
RA: I have always been a “hobbyist” and collector. I have collected everything from keys to comics. Coin collecting quickly became one of my favorites, not only because of my unconditional love for money, but also because of its relation with the stock market, history and geography.
BOJ: What was the first piece you used to begin your collection?
RA: The first piece that went into my collection, sadly I do not have today. It Was an old Indian head penny. I remember being on the bus sorting through my pocket of change to see if I had enough money to put into the pencil machine at my school…to add to my pencil collection. I was very excited to find this coin dated 1894! Sadly when I got home I had lost the penny.
Ryan’s collection is mostly stored at a bank within several safety deposit boxes. His home collection showcases his most recent purchases, as well as coins/metals he prepares to sell as the market shifts. This portion of his collection includes: copper bars, silver bars, high copper content pennies, half dollars, silver dollars, silver quarters and rare individually packaged coins.
BOJ: Where do you go about looking for rare coins?
RA: I have used a variety of different avenues to add to my coin collection. Many of them do not work today. When I first started collecting coins, primarily silver coinage, I would go to the bank and buy as many half dollar coins as they could offer me. I would rummage though them looking at the edges. The silver coins have a different edge than coins made of zinc and nickel. Once the silver market picked up, this was not worth the time or effort due to the increase in coin collectors or “junk metal hunters.” I have used Ebay for a lot of my collection, but I have learned that you get what you pay for. Collectors need to be very discriminatory when using these online auctions, as many of the coins are faked.
BOJ: How does a collector know when a coin is worth something, rather than just being an old dirty coin?
RA: A coins worth is always determined by its condition, demand, historical significance and quantity.
BOJ: How does the metal used to make a coin influence its value over time? How can a collector anticipate these changes in value?
RA: The metal used to mint a coin effects its value in many ways. As you may know, gold is widely sought after. So obviously coins minted of gold will be much more valuable. One basic principle I have used in my coin collecting is the “rule of availability.” When gold was taken out of circulation in 1933, it took 40 years to almost quadruple in value. It’s value went up from $25 an ounce to almost $100. Silver was taken out of circulation in 1969 and it took about 20 years to quadruple in value, from $1 to over $5 an oz. Copper has a similar pattern and was taken out of circulation in 1982. The reason why these coins were taken out of circulation is because the value of the metal in the coin was exceeding its value as legal tender. There are a number of variables behind this, but the most prominent is major advances in technology which require the heavy use of precious metals.
This video demonstrates how a Ryedale Penny Sorter functions. Ryan uses a similar model to determine the copper content of different pennies. The Ryedale uses a low-level electric current to test the content of the coin.
BOJ: What is your favorite type of coin to collect?
RA: My appreciation for different types of coins has changed over the years. currently I am interested in collecting post-Medieval coins.
BOJ: What is your favorite metal to collect?
RA: Silver is my favorite metal. I have spent countless hours of my life trying to understand the silver market. I have come to the conclusion that the market is heavily manipulated. Silver is largely present in many of the technological and medical advancements of today’s society. Still… close behind is copper. Which I like because of its role in the history of our country, industrial advancements… and it has the greatest chance, as of now, to make me rich!
BOJ: What advice would you give someone looking to enter the coin collecting world?
RA: Collecting is a sickness, BEWARE! Catch the meat of the market, don’t get greedy and buy low to sell high! Have fun!